Guide to International Inspections

What happens during an International Inspection?

The expectation is that schools applying the Standards for British Schools Overseas will ensure policies and procedures of a quality at least as high as those required in independent schools in the United Kingdom. British international schools overseas are not automatically subject to British regulation, though they may have to produce and implement policies, or take action, in accordance with the local regulations within the host country. British Schools Overseas: Standards for Schools lists the standards that all accredited British Schools Overseas must meet. ISI uses these standards when it inspects your school. 

An inspection conducted by ISI consists of the following core activities:

  • Preparation and planning: careful planning and preparation of the inspection visit which is agreed with the school to ensure it meets with expectations and requirements. 

  • Inspection preparation visit: a visit to ensure that the team can tailor the inspection with a comprehensive knowledge and awareness of the school itself, including preparation of the correct key lines of enquiry and an understanding of a school's precise position. If the school prefers, and in order to save costs, this can be done via emails and/or via a video link. 

  • Team briefing and planning: following the preparation visit, the team will share and agree observations and initial thoughts on key lines of enquiry with the school and refine the inspection plan accordingly.

  • Inspection visit: an ISI inspection usually lasts four days and includes consideration of confidential feedback from parents and students, lesson observation, meetings with staff and a policy and document review. It is led and co-ordinated by a Reporting Inspector.

  • Report writing: a detailed inspection report is then produced based on the findings of the inspection visit, drawing on the broad range of experience and expertise from the wider ISI team. The report will be quality assured at ISI headquarters before publication.


Non-Inspection Consultancy Reviews

British international schools can also request a bespoke consultancy review from ISI Consultancy (ISIC). Unlike the inspections of British Schools Overseas that are carried out by ISI, the ISIC reviews do not follow a specific inspection framework. Schools that require a consultancy review can therefore receive reviews that focus on particular aspects, such as teaching and learning or governance and leadership. This gives schools which are looking for an indication of their readiness for a full inspection considerable leeway in determining the parameters of their consultancy review. As ISIC reviews are not inspections and are commissioned by the schools themselves, their reports are not published.